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RNC looks to new party pledge to avoid candidate defections

Candidates seeking a Republican nomination for office may soon have to sign a pledge promising not to oppose their party's eventual nominee in the race or else forego any national party money for their campaign effort.

The new party pledge is an effort to avoid defections like that of Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, who accepted donations while running for the U.S. Senate as a Republican but then dropped out of his primary race against Marco Rubio. Crist is now running for the office as an independent.

Party members at the Republican National Committee's summer meeting in Kansas City adopted a change to RNC rules Thursday that would require future candidates to sign the pledge during primary season. The pledge won't be finalized until it is adopted at the GOP's 2012 convention.

"I will run and campaign as a Republican for the office named above," the pledge reads. "I will not oppose the Republican nominee for the office named above through the time of the election specified above, whoever that may be. I will not in any way endorse or support any other person for the office above at any time before the election specified above who is not then a Republican candidate."

The pledge indicates that candidates who fail to follow the pledge would have to pay back any RNC money they have received, as well as return the contribution of any other donor who requests a refund.

"This is a shot across the bow of folks who are going to break party unity," said Morton Blackwell, an RNC member from Virginia who proposed the rule change and said it was adopted by the RNC's rules committee unanimously. "We need this when we have people doing outrageous things like Crist and Dede Scozzafava."

Facing a tough challenge from a conservative third-party candidate, Scozzafava dropped out of a special election for congress in New York after getting the Republican nomination and angered many in her party by endorsing her Democratic rival.

-- Rosalind S. Helderman

By Rosalind Helderman  |  August 5, 2010; 6:33 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency , Republican Party  | Tags: Crist, RNC, Scozzafava, party pledge  
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Comments

Anyone who would sign such a pledge is not a Republican. The insecurity this plan reveals in an embarrassment to the party. We can hope this is supported by a decided minority. When the independence of thought and what a person stands for regulated by a minority who take control of an organization, we have a problem. Who else will take control our freedom of expression? How small and narrow-minded the crowd will who might control what Republican means?

Fascism: 1. A philosophy or system of government that is marked by stringent social and economic control, a strong, centralized government usually headed by a dictator, and often a policy of belligerent nationalism. Control may be by government regulation, or by private oligarchy, or any organization. 2. Oppressive and dictitorial control.

Posted by: DrMarkJohnHunter | August 8, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Will they have a double super secret handshake? Did they spend too much money at the lesbian bars?

Posted by: roosboys | August 7, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: itkonlyyou217 | August 6, 2010 8:51 PM | Report abuse

"We need this when we have people doing outrageous things like Crist and Dede Scozzafava."

Long memories, these republicans.

Scozzafave WAS the Republican Nominee, and it was these "We DEMAND Loyalty" Republicans who ran a carpetbagger against her.

Not, of course, that Reality ought to have any place in Republican Loyalty Oaths.

Posted by: ceflynline | August 6, 2010 8:41 PM | Report abuse

Oh my goodness, I hope the Republicans publicize this far and wide and have countless t.v. ads demanding that people sign this loyalty pledge.
And, THEN, publicize those who WILL NOT sign it! Demonize them! Castigate them! Banish them!
Banish and publicize it across this whole country. Let's see, who would be on the list: No. 1: Laura Bush (she of her own mind); No. 2: Colin Powell (he of his own mind); No. 3 George H.W. Bush (he of his own mind); No. 4: Brent Scrowcraft (he of his own mind); and, really, No. 5 (hear the drum roll, hear the suspense building) GEORGE W. BUSH, himself (he of his own mind.)
Oh, I forgot to include Condi! Sorry. Because, folks, even though all the above characters are people with whom we can have honest disagreements about policy and the direction of the country they took us in, I have NO DOUBT, whatsoever, that not a single one of them would have done something as idiotic as requiring a "loyalty pledge".
I know that because they NEVER did. If they had wanted to, they would have. More to the point, it never entered their minds to do such a thing.
Even though W. has only been gone for 2 years, the Republican Party has morphed into something that none of these people could be expected to endorse.

Posted by: cms1 | August 6, 2010 8:09 PM | Report abuse

Who at the RNC came up with this hairbrained idea????? First we need to WEED out the Rinos, once they are out of the party we only allow REAL CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICANS IN. Charlie Crist was NEVER a conservative he has always been a RINO and now he is an Independent which is the buxx word these days for Democratzi.

Posted by: cajun1 | August 6, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

I also pledge that should I lose to a Democrat or Independant, I will immediately start a local "Confederate Secession Study Group" so that I may assist the GOP to scare people into thinking the GOP will begin another civil war.

I also pledge to kiss Grover Norquist and the Club for Growth, as long as there's plenty of tongue.

Signed,

GOP candidate X

Posted by: ScottChallenger | August 6, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

I also pledge that should I lose to a Democrat or Independant, I will immediately start a local "Confederate Secession Study Group" so that I may assist the GOP to scare people into thinking the GOP will begin another civil war.

I also pledge to kiss Grover Norquist and the Club for Growth, as long as there's plenty of tongue.

Signed,

GOP candidate X

Posted by: ScottChallenger | August 6, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

I also pledge that should I lose to a Democrat or Independant, I will immediately start a local "Confederate Secession Study Group" so that I may assist the GOP to scare people into thinking the GOP will begin another civil war.

I also pledge to kiss Grover Norquist and the Club for Growth, as long as there's plenty of tongue.

Signed,

GOP candidate X

Posted by: ScottChallenger | August 6, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

See, it has nothing to do with any Independents or Liberals taking anybody's "freedom" away from anybody.

The folks in the Republican Party are willfully waiving their right to freedom in exchange for a Gang Membership into the GOP.

No matter how false a statement they make, they all agree to tell the same lies.


Posted by: lindalovejones | August 6, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

This is on President Obama's blog.

Where is President Obama's comment?

Racist pigs won't even ask him for a comment will you, racists?

Posted by: jiji1 | August 6, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

This is on President Obama's blog.

Where is President Obama's comment?

Racist pigs won't even ask him for a comment will you, racists?

Posted by: jiji1 | August 6, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Read more on Michael Steele's hilarious statements to the RNC.

He talks about his views on gun control, drugs, climate change, gay marriage and more. For example, on gun control, he said, "Guns have no place in American society, except for white people who want to shoot animals from airplanes in Alaska. No brothers ever been shot in Alaska from an airplane, so I am cool with that.”

VERY FUNNY.

http://www.dailygoat.com/?p=1029

Posted by: eye95 | August 6, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Great idea. A shot across the bow to all commie, rino, and democraps posing as Republicans and taking the money and running as they stab us in the back when they are rejected as frauds.

Posted by: raybojabo | August 6, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

World to RNC: Choose and campaign on a party platform that reflects your CONSERVATIVE base. Then the 'defections' (Crist is a prime example) who are really RINOs will not be given money to begin with.

Posted by: IQ168 | August 6, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Another attempt by the terrified Dems to spin another lie about the Republicans. It won't work, you are toast.

Posted by: joanz3 | August 6, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

You people bailed on Scozzafava, she didn't bail on you people, I know I'm from the 23 Dist. MAYBE IF YOU GOT RID OF THAT CROOK STEELE, YOU WOULD KNOW WHAT'S GOING ON. MORON!

Posted by: ipod45 | August 6, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

A loyalty pledge from the Republicans? Yet another dumb idea coming down the pike....

Posted by: beeker25 | August 6, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Michael Steele, if you can't separate the wheat from the chaff, you're doing it wrong and need to resign immediately. We have an RNC who, along with the NRSC, endorsed the same candidate as Markos Moulitsas. Crist was working with the Democrats in FL to throw a wrench in their primaries and help Obama get elected; then he turns out to be a Democrat. Mike Bloomberg in NYC was a lifelong Dem and ran, at first, as a Republican, following the success of Rudy Giuliani's two terms and his handling of 911. But Bloomberg is no "independent" now. He is a Democrat, and he always has been. If Michael Steele knew how to do his job, he could see Arlen Specter, Olympia Snowe and Charlie Crist for what they are: Democrats.

Posted by: 2partsgin | August 6, 2010 9:06 AM | Report abuse

moblus22, you just said the same thing that the FIX did and I called him on that too. he reffered to Crist with an "I"in writng but then said he switched parties. An "I" is clearly not a "D"; for the last time (I hope), Crist did not switch parties, he is running as an independent. and ya, I think he should have paid back any donors who asked.

Posted by: katem1 | August 6, 2010 6:36 AM | Report abuse

I can understand the GOP saying you must return GOP money if you go independent. But it's totally unreasonable to bar you from supporting anyone other than the GOP candidate. That's basically signing away your free speech rights, and God help you if the eventual candidate turns out to be someone you truly believe would be a nightmare if elected. Sometimes the good of the country demands that you break party ranks.

Posted by: blwpyrtv | August 6, 2010 2:46 AM | Report abuse

"Sounds like the bar has closed at the Republican party, and the crowd is thinning. Loyalty is something one gives, not something one demands. Rolling out a loyalty pledge is a desperate act, and the fact that it is needed amounts to a vote of "No Confidence" in current Republican Party Leadership. This is yet one more indication the party is not only bankrupt of ideas on substantive political issues but sorely lacking in wisdom and energy." by JoeHilley

Well said not much more needs to be added

Posted by: notthatdum | August 5, 2010 11:07 PM | Report abuse

Glad I'm an Independent. I'm not likely to ever run for any elective office, but a pledge like that would keep me from running as a Republican even in a campaign for dogcatcher. Likely to make me very wary of voting for a Republican too.

Posted by: meand2 | August 5, 2010 10:25 PM | Report abuse

I wonder how this could/would be enforced? An attempt at remedy could cost many more $$ and take years. Any laws that supersede?

Posted by: tjconnor | August 5, 2010 10:08 PM | Report abuse

I always thought Republicans were dumber than a box of rocks ... now it sounds as if they are hoping that late some night, when they are fast asleep the Rock Fairy will come and ...

Posted by: gannon_dick | August 5, 2010 10:04 PM | Report abuse

Oh, this is good! Spread it wide and far, Republicans, ask every voter to sign a loyalty pledge! Pledge to follow your Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell, in SHUTTING DOWN THIS
GOVERNMENT!! Take to the streets, with your guns (which you all have and have the ability to buy practically everywhere across this whole country with NO restrictions for anyone) and storm the citadels of WHERE? Exactly?
Oh yeah, Town Hall meetings. That's where. Or, maybe where any legislator of any moderate stripe might have the courage to appear?
Republicans are way far over the edge now. Americans, as a whole, as simply NOT going to go for an entire shutting down of our federal government and they are only too wise to how idiotic most of their state legistators are.
Won't work, Michael.

Posted by: cms1 | August 5, 2010 9:49 PM | Report abuse

They could call it the "Do as you're told Act". Nice. Just think. We could have 52 people that have to do what they are told in the Senate next year. A dream for Mitch McConnell.

Posted by: baldinho | August 5, 2010 8:44 PM | Report abuse

When Crist changed parties he refused to give the money back to donors even when they asked.

Posted by: moebius22 | August 5, 2010 7:25 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like the bar has closed at the Republican party, and the crowd is thinning. Loyalty is something one gives, not something one demands. Rolling out a loyalty pledge is a desperate act, and the fact that it is needed amounts to a vote of "No Confidence" in current Republican Party Leadership. This is yet one more indication the party is not only bankrupt of ideas on substantive political issues but sorely lacking in wisdom and energy.

Posted by: JoeHilley | August 5, 2010 7:17 PM | Report abuse

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